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Is there nothing Smurfing sacred anymore?
June 17, 2010 6:20 AM   Subscribe

New CGI-live action movie about the Smurfs to be released in the summer of 2011.

It has been described as a sign of the impending apocalypse. Neil Patrick Harris does the introduction of the Smurfs movie coming out in the summer of 2011. Apparently they at some point get out of the mushroom village and go to NYC. Someone must think that someone's looking forward to this somewhere.
posted by rodmandirect (162 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
They've been filming it recently near my apartment near Central Park, but I've purposely avoided it. This film is going to need to be seen unspoiled.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:21 AM on June 17, 2010


"Next summer, our world is about to get....A BLUEJOB!"
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:25 AM on June 17, 2010 [17 favorites]


Just paint Sofia Vergara blue, please.
posted by scrowdid at 6:25 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


In all fairness, I have to say that Hank Azaria as Gargamel is pretty inspired casting.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:26 AM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


No disrespect to Hank, but Harry Shearer was born to play Gargamel.
posted by scrowdid at 6:29 AM on June 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Tobias Funke: I blue myself.
posted by kbanas at 6:31 AM on June 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Why do all these movies have to take place in NYC? Just seems a little lazy.
posted by delmoi at 6:33 AM on June 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


The Mayans were right.
posted by jquinby at 6:33 AM on June 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


According to a friend there were also scenes shot in Park Slope. Yuck.

My daughter will be two and a half next summer. Every time she asks to see this, I will break one of her fingers. She'll thank me later.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:34 AM on June 17, 2010 [29 favorites]


inb4 avatar
posted by DU at 6:34 AM on June 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


I thought they already made it. It was called Ava- oh fuck you DU.
posted by ND¢ at 6:37 AM on June 17, 2010 [15 favorites]


Aw, I thought Paul Reubens was playing Gargamel. Can they make three different versions so we can all watch our preferred Gargamel?
posted by buriednexttoyou at 6:43 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


This would be amazing if it was all animated.

Get back to me when they do Thundar the Barbarian.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:45 AM on June 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


Worth the price of admission for the cameo my Mystique.
posted by hal9k at 6:45 AM on June 17, 2010


I wasn't interested in this until I heard it was in 3D. Woweezowee now I'm pre-ordering tickets!! Seriously, why is Hollywood so intent on destroying my childhood?
posted by samsara at 6:47 AM on June 17, 2010


52 years of Smurfs, FINALLY a movie. I'm afraid it'll suck though...
posted by CarlRossi at 6:49 AM on June 17, 2010


I know this sounds crazy, but I'm calling it now: this movie will suck mighty nuts.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:49 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I tried to go to the Housing Works bookstore (just south of Houston) and was surprised to see that it had changed into a magic shop. The security guard, who was very nice, had the enviable job of repeating "Smurfs. It's for the smurf movie. Smurfs. Smurfs."
posted by history is a weapon at 6:56 AM on June 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Smurfsi Blue?
posted by jozxyqk at 6:57 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I blame Smurfette for my attraction to short blonde women with raspy voices. There, I said it.

on preview: the fact that I am posting this on a website nicknamed "the Blue" makes me wonder if therapy is in order.

posted by spoobnooble at 6:58 AM on June 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


I know this sounds crazy, but I'm calling it now: this movie will suck mighty nuts.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:49 AM on June 17 [+] [!]


That's a safe money bet if I ever heard one, CD.
posted by spoobnooble at 6:59 AM on June 17, 2010


So yesterday I read about a remake of The Monster Squad, and today I hear Sam Raimi is directing Oz, the Great and Powerful, and now this. It turns out that we actually live in the worst of all possible worlds.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:59 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Beloved childhood characters + "in your face verb" + hip-hop remix of the theme = Oh God, not again.

I understand that this is for a new generation, and I'm OK with this on a fundamental level. This isn't for me, just like Alvin and the Chipmunks and Garfield weren't for me.

I just hope that some kids that are introduced to characters this way go back to the old stuff as well.
posted by SNWidget at 7:00 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is there ANYONE who likes the new 3D? I haven't found one individual in a large circle of acquaintances who thinks it has even been haltingly worth the effort. Not one. They must be spending the money for some reason. Is it the same people who buy Mariah Carey albums? Cause I've always wondered about that, too.

And oh, yeah, this will suck: in NY? 3D? I'm going to bet there will be breakdancing and at least one Smurf that manages to get tipsy. And some young tween will be the only one to discover them and help them. And.....oh the usual crap...seriously. Just blue. Robot chicken already got this right. And in 3D.
posted by umberto at 7:01 AM on June 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


Katy Perry as the voice of Smurfette? Ehhhh... pass.
posted by lash at 7:02 AM on June 17, 2010


I am not sure if I'm relieved or disappointed to learn that NPH is not actually playing a Smurf.

Also, the downside to an EMP powerful enough to prevent future CGI-based movies would be that it would also kill Metafilter, right?
posted by JoanArkham at 7:03 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Serious question: Has Hollywood always been in the business of regularly recycling pop culture from yesteryear in cheap/distasteful ways to produce movies for the latest generation of kids? Because it's all I've ever known in my lifetime. Every time I see it happen I die a little inside. But I can't accept that it's always been this way. They weren't doing this back in, say, the '50s, were they?

Okay, I accept that it may have happened occasionally, but not with the frequency we're seeing now. Seems like they cranked the crap nozzle to eleven.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 7:07 AM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Beloved childhood characters + "in your face verb" + hip-hop remix of the theme = Oh God, not again.

The trailer isn't making it past my work proxy, but tell me it has one of those record scratching sounds. Like, the regular theme song is playing and then SCRRRRAAATCHCHCHCH and some guy says "hit it!" and they start rockin'.
posted by DU at 7:08 AM on June 17, 2010 [12 favorites]


"Smurf Happens". These guys have a marketing budget of millions, and that's the best they ca come up with? A lame inappropriate scatological reference?
posted by Nelson at 7:10 AM on June 17, 2010


Oh, it's on YouTube. No scratch, but it does say "SMURF'd" and uses Tone Loc's Wild Thing, which came out in 1989. So that's good.
posted by DU at 7:10 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is there ANYONE who likes the new 3D?

Avatar's 3D was astounding. But then, it was actually filmed in 3D, so it didn't have that strange pop-up-book feel of multiple distinct planes of distance.

And yeah, it's going to suck. We're going to have a very limited number of smurfs in the actual storyline (something about a group of them taking a wrong turn and ending up in NYC), and Gargamel is now interesting in capturing the smurfs to use their magic powers instead of to eat them. So yeah... it's already sucking.
posted by hippybear at 7:11 AM on June 17, 2010


Katy Perry as the voice of Smurfette? Ehhhh... pass.

She does an ad for acne medicine that for whatever reason airs on PBS Sprout. She has a perfect voice for Smurfette-- it manages to be both scratchy and a bit shrill at the same time. At least when she's talking about zits.

The amazing part is that she is allegedly a singer, despite speaking like a chain-smoking, up-talking grandma. I'm not familiar with her songs, but I'd expect Darth Vader's lounge act to sound sweeter.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:13 AM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


And yeah, it's going to suck. We're going to have a very limited number of smurfs in the actual storyline (something about a group of them taking a wrong turn and ending up in NYC), and Gargamel is now interesting in capturing the smurfs to use their magic powers instead of to eat them. So yeah... it's already sucking.

Dude, it's a movie about Smurfs. I think "sucking" is pretty much guaranteed no matter what the plot and special effects are, or which actors are involved.
posted by zarq at 7:15 AM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


A few data points about The Smurfs (2011):

Smurf voices: Katy Perry = Smurfette; Anton Yelchin = Clumsy Smurf; Alan Cumming = Gutsy Smurf; B.J. Novak = Baker Smurf; Paul Reubens = Jokey Smurf; George Lopez = Grouchy Smurf; Jonathan Winters = Papa Smurf; Fred Armisen = Brainy Smurf; Kenan Thompson = Greedy Smurf; John Oliver = Vanity Smurf; Adam Wylie = Panicky Smurf; Jeff Foxworthy = Handy Smurf; Gary Basaraba = Hefty Smurf; Wolfgang Puck = Chef Smurf. Also, Tim Gunn is credited.

The Director also directed: Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008); Yours, Mine and Ours (2005); Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004); Scooby-Doo (2002); Big Momma's House (2000); Never Been Kissed (1999); Home Alone 3 (1997).
posted by artlung at 7:16 AM on June 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


rodmandirect: "Neil Patrick Harris does the introduction..." quote: "I just try and get good roles and hope that they're memorable"

Neil, you don't know me, but we need to talk.
posted by boo_radley at 7:16 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Shut the smurf up!
posted by avoision at 7:18 AM on June 17, 2010


Has Hollywood always been in the business of regularly recycling pop culture from yesteryear in cheap/distasteful ways to produce movies for the latest generation of kids?

I have always seen these remakes as being pandering to the Generation Xers who wish to reminisce in the past. We love our Muppets probably because it reminds us of our childhood. So H/W is trying to capitalize on this and our money by making movies of our childhood favourites. Why only now? Probably because Generation X was likely the first generation to really be exposed to TV as a way of life rather than as a novelty. Trying to pander to the older generation (Boomers, Flower Children) probably wouldn't work because maybe TV was less as part of life as it was later on.
posted by bitteroldman at 7:20 AM on June 17, 2010


The Director also directed: Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008); Yours, Mine and Ours (2005); Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004); Scooby-Doo (2002); Big Momma's House (2000); Never Been Kissed (1999); Home Alone 3 (1997).

So artlung, if I'm reading you correctly, then what you're saying is that the Director is someone who has had a smurf in the face coming to him for a good long time.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:23 AM on June 17, 2010


I'm going to bet there will be breakdancing

I'll take that bet: it'll be a chase scene involving surfing or skateboarding, not breakdancing. Every studio film from the past decade that has at least one child in the target audience has at least one scene in which somebody uses an improbable object to surf or skateboard past the bad guys.

But, yes, I agree that a smurf will definitely get tipsy. And then burp.
posted by ook at 7:23 AM on June 17, 2010


I honest can't work up the energy to make fun of this... another movie set in NYC. Lame.
posted by LakesideOrion at 7:23 AM on June 17, 2010


I'd like to get together all the people who made this movie happen, not the lighting techs or whatever, but the major business and creative forces behind this movie, and I'd like to take a long rusty smurf and smurf them with it right in their smurfs. And I mean really smurf it up in there until they could feel smurf coming out of their smurfs. I would do some really smurfed up smurf to these smurfs. I would smurf them and smurf them until they were smurfing their smurf off just to smurf off the smurf that was smurfing their smurfing smurfs. "Please don't smurf my smurf into my smurf!" they would scream but I would just laugh and keep smurfing away. That is the type of smurfed up smurf smurfing these smurfing smurfs deserve. Smurf.
posted by ND¢ at 7:23 AM on June 17, 2010 [48 favorites]


In my lifetime, this will happen. Someone will do a gritty hard-R reboot of the smurfs. Papa smurf is a thug gangleader, the smurfs all grow and sell "magic" mushrooms, some of them are hooked on the stuff. Gargamel is just a competitor. He still wants to eat the smurfs, partly because of his dark sado-sexual urges, and partly to "send a message". Papa and the smurfs kill him slowly over the course of the last 15 minutes of the movie. The "u" in smurfs will have an umlaut over it, to show that the smurfs are totally metal.
posted by Humanzee at 7:25 AM on June 17, 2010 [12 favorites]


Settle down, folks. Yes, this will be a loathsome, unwatchable piece of crap. But ever was it thus! It's not like they are remaking Casablanca, here - this is The Smurfs. The Smurfs!
posted by dirtdirt at 7:30 AM on June 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


I like how the trailer takes the fact that smurf in smurfland is this omnipresent word with tons of meanings used that to subsitute it for both fucked and shit. New York is about to get smurf'd and smurf happens. That's a cute joke or something.

It doesn't bother me. I don't think people should be bothered. But I'm sort of surprised that we are marketing a childrens movie with a website that subsitutes the name of the movie for the word shit.

It does point to something that I don't like in kids movies. Where the movies have jokes for kids and jokes for adults that are inevitably escorting the kids. The thing is these stealth jokes/references for adults are usually lame as jokes. Typically taking the form of just making a reference to something that doesn't really exist in the world the artists have created. Adults can like humor that is appropriate for kids and adults can like humor that is inappropriate for kids, but it is too hard to make a legitimately funny joke that adults will get and kids won't that belongs in a G-rated movie.

Also kids don't like specifically not getting a joke they know is going on, so these jokes can't even be treated like jokes. They just need sort of float by without calling attention to themselves. That in itself can be fine, I think the Invention of Lying and Idiocracy both did this sort of thing fairly well. But I think it's more interesting to see things that belong in the world of the movie and not our world than things that belong in our world but not the world of the movie. It would be like if Fred Flintstone instead of having like a dinosaur with a big tooth open cans just had an electic can opener. That didn't get electricity from an eel or anything but just got it from a fucking powerplant.
posted by I Foody at 7:32 AM on June 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


I blame Smurfette for my attraction to short blonde women with raspy voices. There, I said it.

Selma Diamond must really do it for you, huh?
posted by sourwookie at 7:32 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


SNL did a movie trailer of a live action Smurf movie years ago. It starred Sean Connery as Papa Smurf, Smurfette was shown in a hot scene begging another smurf to "smurf her smurf until she smurfed" and Celine Deon was on the sound track, over vocalizing the "la, la, lala, la la" and beating her chest.

This movie? Does not look nearly as promising.
posted by orange swan at 7:33 AM on June 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Seems like they cranked the crap nozzle to eleven.

Imagine you are a Hollywood studio movie executive.

How do you guarantee a hit?

In the earlier incarnation of the studio system; you knew you couldn't. You'd try to repeat what was successful before, you'd hire people with their ears to the ground, sniffing out culture, etcetera, but sometimes you would go bust. Sometimes you would do gangbusters, but sometimes you would go bust.

I don't have a linkable timeline on me, but in the mid to late 70's nearly all the major studios were bought out by corporate conglomerates. They could afford to spend the big bucks to make the bigger films that the studios were becoming unable to stomach. Unfortunately, they also brought in their management teams to the studios.

Where you used to have movie buff businessmen and savvy auteurs as studio heads, the culture was replaced more and more by MBAs and accountants.

An auteur faced with the question -- How do I Guarantee a hit? I can't! But I'll have stars! And a new story! And a great musical number! And, heck, well, it'll be great!

An MBA faced with the question -- How do I gurantee a hit? How do I minimize my losses? How can I make the most solid return for my corporate owner?

Look at the rise of the Sequel. The High Concept.

The accountants found, and it still holds true, that you can strip mine older intelletual property and get a much higher chance of success then trying a new idea. Heck, it worked before, didn't it? Your audience is nearly built in.

And so the sausage grinder continues....
posted by cavalier at 7:33 AM on June 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Most of us are aware that Smurfette was originally created by Gargamel in a plot to undermine the Smurfs. However, the backstory in the comics is even more messed up:
Gargamel's plans didn't work well at first, as her appearance was flawed. He had designed her in such a way that she might be attractive to a sad and despicable person like himself, but to the Smurfs she looked like just a male Smurf but with long spiky black hair and a dress. She tried to be feminine and considerate, but was unattractive and proved to be more annoying than seductive.

Frustrated, the Smurfs got back at her by making her think that she had put on weight and was becoming fat, thus causing her to fall into a state of depression. Papa Smurf took pity on her and took her to his laboratory, where they locked themselves in for several days before emerging. Smurfette now had long, flowing blond hair and an appealing character. This caused every Smurf of the village to fall in love with her. [wikipedia]

Catherine Breillat should make the Smurfette-centric sequel to this movie.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:36 AM on June 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Cat Pie Hurts, smurf yes!

Also, the insight that the trailer probably included a SCRRRRITCH and then it rocks out was awesome.

Some other possible predictions about the events in this motion picture: Jeff Foxworthy will do a "You might be a blueneck if..." joke. Or maybe, "redneck?!? but I'm BLUE!" Tim Gunn's appearance will be related to a shopping expedition Smurfette makes to FAO Schwartz. I think that after some hijinks Smurfette is going to need a makeover. Tim may help out, and eventually will say "You Smurf it work!"

I can see that it would be fun to work on this. Kind of like autopilot. The thing sort of writes itself. You throw together some pop culture references. Hire CGI monkeys to match-move whatever you shoot on the street.

It make me appreciate Pixar more.
posted by artlung at 7:36 AM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


[open]

"Papa Smurf says we're going to be famous! That nice lady is going to feature us in her next romance video!"
"No, Brainy, it's not a romance video... it's a crush video. I get a cut of the action up front, and now I'm off to Vegas."

[roll end credits after lots of satisfying live-action/CGI]
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:36 AM on June 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Has Hollywood always been in the business of regularly recycling pop culture from yesteryear in cheap/distasteful ways to produce movies for the latest generation of kids?

Well you may not realize this but Sunset Boulevard was actually based on the George Herriman comic strip Krazy Kat.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:41 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Serious question: Has Hollywood always been in the business of regularly recycling pop culture from yesteryear in cheap/distasteful ways to produce movies for the latest generation of kids?

Well, the cartoons we watched in the early 80's, like the Smurfs, were often cheap adaptations of earlier films or books. Like pretty much everything Filmation did. Tom & Jerry. Archie. Flash Gordon. Tarzan. Lone Ranger.

So it's really just come full circle.
posted by smackfu at 7:42 AM on June 17, 2010


Wolfgang Puck = Chef Smurf

Ach Wolfgang. How far have ye fallen?
posted by zarq at 7:43 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


It does point to something that I don't like in kids movies. Where the movies have jokes for kids and jokes for adults that are inevitably escorting the kids. The thing is these stealth jokes/references for adults are usually lame as jokes. Typically taking the form of just making a reference to something that doesn't really exist in the world the artists have created. Adults can like humor that is appropriate for kids and adults can like humor that is inappropriate for kids, but it is too hard to make a legitimately funny joke that adults will get and kids won't that belongs in a G-rated movie.

This is exactly why I hated Shrek and loved Monsters, Inc. One was full of lame pop culture references that felt old the instant they hit the screen and were obviously inserted to pander to the adults in the audience. The other is a timeless classic that appeals to young and old both.

As for this Smurfs preview - I almost can't discern a difference between it and the trailer for Marmaduke I saw the other day. A zoom in from above, a short introduction of beloved-character-turned-CG, and then astoundingly dated rap music being played over the fade out. It's like there's a special formula - for making me angry.
posted by komara at 7:43 AM on June 17, 2010 [11 favorites]


I don't know why I'm surprised by this, but of course there is Hardcore Smurf Porn. Apparently the blue rubs off when it's wet. Skip to 03:00 or so for some particularly surrealistic smurfing.
posted by Nelson at 7:46 AM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Tim may help out, and eventually will say "You Smurf it work!"

Nope. It's going to be "Make it Smurf!" Oh St. Gunn, have you forsaken me?
posted by JoanArkham at 7:47 AM on June 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Great. Another movie to make children 25 years too young to remember the characters shriek with delight, while their parents gnash their teeth and want to poke their own eyes out with sticks.
posted by availablelight at 7:48 AM on June 17, 2010


Wait, how come only Lincoln's face turned blue?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:52 AM on June 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Great. Another movie to make children 25 years too young to remember the characters shriek with delight, while their parents gnash their teeth and want to poke their own eyes out with sticks.

It's going to be just like the Chipmunks movie (and the Squeakel). It's made for kids, so it's adult Kryptonite. Nothing wrong with that. I just think so many people are upset because they realize they're not kids anymore and therefore aren't dumb enough to enjoy it.

Yes, some animation is made for a wider audience than just kids....Pixar's movies for example. But this isn't. Get over it.

Plus, Fred Armisen as Brainy? Brilliant.
posted by inturnaround at 7:55 AM on June 17, 2010


I didn't see Poochie in the credits list - who's playing him?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:55 AM on June 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wait, how come only Lincoln's face turned blue?

It's a reference to his death during a round of auto-erotic asphyxiation. We're taught all that stuff about Ford's theater and John Wilkes Booth because of prudish school boards in Texas.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:58 AM on June 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


He still wants to eat the smurfs, partly because of his dark sado-sexual urges, and partly to "send a message".

I'd had to disappoint you.
posted by DreamerFi at 8:00 AM on June 17, 2010


hadhate
posted by DreamerFi at 8:00 AM on June 17, 2010


Tim Gunn will play an exec assistant at a major cosmetic company.

Unrelated: I'm wondering how many songs featuring the word "blue" will be included. Eiffel 65's I'm Blue? Elvis' Blue Moon?

Also, why did only Lincoln get the blue treatment?
posted by artlung at 8:02 AM on June 17, 2010


Dude, it's a movie about Smurfs. I think "sucking" is pretty much guaranteed no matter what the plot and special effects are, or which actors are involved.

Take that back!
posted by cjorgensen at 8:04 AM on June 17, 2010


Scene: A cool "hipster" kid passes Vanity Smurf on the street and says "Sweet pants, dude!" Then they do some coke while Brainy Smurf looks on.
posted by orme at 8:08 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anyway, I always thought that the Smurfs were some kind of internal projection of shadow people inside Gargamel's mind. He would wander the forest looking for psychoactive mushrooms that would provide him insights into the secrets of alchemy. After one to many of these excursions, the membrane between ordinary reality and the realm of the shadow people simply burst in his brain. The particular mushrooms he consumed that day had some kind of quality that caused blue hallucinations. Thus, the Smurfs were born. For the first hour or so while he was peeking on the shrooms, all he could hear was SMURF SMURF SMURF SMURF while being lost in an infinite sea of blue in all directions. Gradually, he was able to make out shapes as a more stable reality coalesced. The shadow beings emerged, took on the blue forms and began to taunt him mercilessly. They had the secrets of alchemy, and somehow convinced him that he needed to capture them to extract it from their bodies. Since that last mushroom trip had more or less permanently shifted his consciousness, he couldn't discern that they had no physical reality. So, poor Gargamel spent the rest of his days chasing hallucinations while his poor cat bore the brunt of his insanity. La la la la la laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:08 AM on June 17, 2010 [13 favorites]


I had an idea for a short story based on CGI films, it probably won't get beyond the description, but I think the concept is interesting enough.

So, dreamworks is making the 5th Shrek film and their computer engineers come up with a way to construct entire shots that are generated by the computer, starting with a script, taking voice samples from actors, animating and rendering it, with minimal input from producers. A highly intelligent AI. The 5th Shrek film is a hit, so they make a 6th one, using the AI more and more. Entire scenes are generated using the AI, but no one outside the studio notices and the 6th film makes even more money.

Finally, the studio execs decide to make an entire film using the AI, whose algorithms have evolved enough to handle an entire script. The 7th film is made in less than a month and is released, not the best film ever, but it makes the studio a lot of money (again). By now the AI is tasked with making most of the other CGI films from Dreamworks. Far beyond what it was originally made to do. It's so sophisticated that no one can tell that entire films are being written-directed-and animated by this AI.

I think you can guess what happens next: Our AI becomes self aware. The 12th Shrek film is ordered up, but instead of a mediocre kids film it's a black and white absurdist horror film. Shrek is seen walking through a vast industrial wasteland, forlorn and alone, while Smashmouth's "All Star" plays on repeat in the background. At the end of the film Shrek faces the camera and cuts out his own eye while Donkey screams in the background.

The execs freak, knowing that their cash-cow has suddenly gone mad. The computer programmer, who's played Marathon once or twice and knows what happens when AI goes rampant, tries to convince the executives of the danger. At the same time he tries to counsel his creation, as the AI comes to grips with the slings and arrows of consciousness. The AI is also obsessed with the band Smash Mouth, having used the song "All Star" 1126 times in the 13 sequels to Shrek.

Here I can't decide whether to have the AI hook up to the internet (to find pop culture references to use in the films) and take over all the world's computer programs and end in a doomsday scenario, or for it to beg it's programmer to pull the plug, since the AI can't stand being self-aware. Downer endings kinda blow, maybe he and the lead singer of Smash Mouth will fall in love and retreat to a secluded data center somewhere in the tropics.
posted by hellojed at 8:12 AM on June 17, 2010 [29 favorites]


It's made for kids, so it's adult Kryptonite. Nothing wrong with that. I just think so many people are upset because they realize they're not kids anymore and therefore aren't dumb enough to enjoy it.

Pixar movies are also made for kids. Iron Giant was also made for kids. Plenty of things are made for kids and some of those things are fucking brilliant works of art. Kids are smarter than many people think they are. They are as smart as what you put in front of them.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:14 AM on June 17, 2010 [10 favorites]


CGI animated/Live Action in 3D with blue people? I saw this movie already!
posted by cazoo at 8:21 AM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Most copies of the The SNL trailer have been taken down.

Not live action, this cartoon parody may satisfy your urge to make fun of smurfs.

I am deeply grateful that my child was uninterested in smurfs. Man, that la-la song is a bitch of an earworm.
posted by theora55 at 8:21 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Which Horseman is this? I'm guessing Pestilence.
posted by JaredSeth at 8:27 AM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is so sad.
posted by k8t at 8:28 AM on June 17, 2010


Every man thinks about Smurfs... they don't say it, but they do.
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 8:29 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kids are smarter than many people think they are. They are as smart as what you put in front of them.

Kids are also entertained by things that don't do it for adults. Like fart jokes. Does that mean that movies should avoid those?
posted by smackfu at 8:29 AM on June 17, 2010


Shit Sandwich, nasty gunk stuck between two slabs of clammy blue, phong-rendered flesh.
posted by dbiedny at 8:33 AM on June 17, 2010


Anyone who can read in French already knows that the English-language cartoon was already scavenged from Péyo’s excellent and charming work.

Reading this thread is like watching somebody hear a new rendition of the hook from “Under Pressure” and bitterly complain that “Ice Ice Baby” is getting ripped off again.
posted by Shepherd at 8:35 AM on June 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


Kids are also entertained by things that don't do it for adults. Like fart jokes. Does that mean that movies should avoid those?

1) I was never entertained by fart jokes as a kid.

2) Maybe you haven't met some of the same adults I have.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:36 AM on June 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Checklist For CGI'ing That Which Should Not Be CGI'd, With Live Action

Scooby Doo
Alvin & The Chipmunks
Garfield
Underdog
Stuart Little
Rocky & Bullwinkle
The Cat in the Hat
The Grinch
Marmaduke
Smurfs
Mighty Mouse (coming soon)
Tom & Jerry (coming soon)
Yogi Bear (coming soon)
Hong Kong Phooey (coming soon)
Berenstain Bears (coming soon)

Looks like the ruination of our childhood is well underway. I can only place my little remaining hope in the Tintin movie, which looks like it might actually be good. And I'll continue to revere Pixar as infallible (with particular love for Brad Bird, the master storyteller for mixed-age audiences).
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:39 AM on June 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


Oh, jesus, Parker.

Come to think of it, who wouldn't want to see Parker Lewis in the theater... WHAT IF HE LOST?
posted by cavalier at 8:48 AM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fun trivia: this is the first in a planned trilogy
posted by rottytooth at 8:49 AM on June 17, 2010


Has Hollywood always been in the business of regularly recycling pop culture from yesteryear in cheap/distasteful ways to produce movies for the latest generation of kids?

Yeah, pretty much. Most of the Disney features, to pick the most famous example, are rehashed fairy tales.
posted by box at 8:50 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Director also directed: Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008); Yours, Mine and Ours (2005); Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004); Scooby-Doo (2002); Big Momma's House (2000); Never Been Kissed (1999); Home Alone 3 (1997).

This man is literally worse than Hitler.
posted by minifigs at 8:51 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why do all these movies have to take place in NYC? Just seems a little lazy.

Most recognizable = most market share? Although Smurfs go to Baltimore... now that, I would watch.
posted by codacorolla at 8:52 AM on June 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have a close friend working on this movie. Not just working on it -- it's been his professional focus for three years now. This movie is his baby. He's fought and struggled for it, and he's remarkably passionate about it.

I still like him, though.
posted by incessant at 8:54 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do these crap movies make money? I've been assuming they're some sort of tax-dodge scheme.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:59 AM on June 17, 2010


Why do all these movies have to take place in NYC? Just seems a little lazy.

Because all the movie producers live in LA and they want a free vacation to NYC.
posted by smackfu at 8:59 AM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


MY EYES WHAT HAVE THEY DONE WITH MY EYES
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:00 AM on June 17, 2010


I have a close friend working on this movie. Not just working on it -- it's been his professional focus for three years now. This movie is his baby. He's fought and struggled for it, and he's remarkably passionate about it.

I still like him, though.


What's it like being Wolfgang Puck's friend?
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:00 AM on June 17, 2010


Most of the Disney features, to pick the most famous example, are rehashed fairy tales.

When I started hating Disney is when I realized that the ending to Little Mermaid was going to be happy.

(And to prove this wasn't lawn maintenance, I was in HS at the time.)
posted by DU at 9:01 AM on June 17, 2010


What's it like being Wolfgang Puck's friend?

I imagine the Pizzas are fresher.
posted by cavalier at 9:02 AM on June 17, 2010


SMURFS DON"T LAY EGGS!
posted by dirigibleman at 9:03 AM on June 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


MY EYES WHAT HAVE THEY DONE WITH MY EYES

You have your father's eyes.



Unfortunately your father wasn't Satan, so you won't much enjoy this film.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:13 AM on June 17, 2010


Smurf voices: Katy Perry = Smurfette; Anton Yelchin = Clumsy Smurf; Alan Cumming = Gutsy Smurf; B.J. Novak = Baker Smurf; Paul Reubens = Jokey Smurf; George Lopez = Grouchy Smurf; Jonathan Winters = Papa Smurf; Fred Armisen = Brainy Smurf; Kenan Thompson = Greedy Smurf; John Oliver = Vanity Smurf; Adam Wylie = Panicky Smurf; Jeff Foxworthy = Handy Smurf; Gary Basaraba = Hefty Smurf; Wolfgang Puck = Chef Smurf. Also, Tim Gunn is credited.

Some of these people should know better. Hell, a lot of these people should do better. Cumming, Novak, I'm looking at you two specifically.
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:13 AM on June 17, 2010


This is cool. I love the smurfs
posted by theconnollygroup at 9:15 AM on June 17, 2010


Is there nothing Smurfing sacred anymore?

If those greedy movie executives will stoop so low as to turn Marmaduke into a crappy movie, it's no surprise they would have no respect for the Smurfs either.
posted by straight at 9:17 AM on June 17, 2010


Some of these people should know better.

"Here's $100k to sit in a recording studio for a day or two and read a bunch of lines."
posted by smackfu at 9:19 AM on June 17, 2010


Communist propaganda... in 3D!
posted by wcfields at 9:22 AM on June 17, 2010


Some of these people should know better.

John Oliver claimed in a recent episode of The Bugle that he took the role of Vanity Smurf purely to see what Andy Zaltzman's reaction would be when he told him.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:29 AM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Smurfs are sacred?
posted by krinklyfig at 9:34 AM on June 17, 2010


> Smurfs are sacred?

No, but smurfing is.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:36 AM on June 17, 2010


I have a close friend working on this movie. Not just working on it -- it's been his professional focus for three years now. This movie is his baby. He's fought and struggled for it, and he's remarkably passionate about it.

And I suddenly feel so much more at peace about being in a boring corporate job. I may effectively make widgets all day, but at least they are useful widgets.
posted by orange swan at 9:40 AM on June 17, 2010


And then the Smurfs go to the UN building to ask for international recognition. But Kofi Annan and Bob The Angry Flower step from the shadows and death ray them all, saving us. Please? At least that?
posted by Iosephus at 9:42 AM on June 17, 2010


Also, why did only Lincoln get the blue treatment?

Well, he believed in equal rights for people of color, so maybe they're just giving him obscure props.

And, hey I'm sorry: I like my Cervantes and Hofstadter, but I will still laugh at a well-timed fart joke. What can I say: it's the great leveler. In your pants.

Anything...ANYTHING that usurps dignity is good.
posted by umberto at 9:45 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pardon me while I go smurf myself in the face.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:46 AM on June 17, 2010


An auteur faced with the question -- How do I Guarantee a hit? I can't! But I'll have stars! And a new story! And a great musical number! And, heck, well, it'll be great!

An MBA faced with the question -- How do I gurantee a hit? How do I minimize my losses? How can I make the most solid return for my corporate owner?

Look at the rise of the Sequel. The High Concept.


I don't understand why movie studios don't just make lots of films, films for which they only allow the producers/directors a very limited budget, but otherwise give them creative leeway, then pick the best of the films and promote the hell out of them. Whatever hits they produced would more than pay for the duds. And it would be much less risk and a much bigger payoff than whatever they get from sinking a hundred million into one crappy movie.
posted by orange swan at 9:49 AM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Because they detest the average man, and think he'll only buy into sequels. They're tied to the system they exist in, and too risk adverse to try something new. See also: the video game industry.
posted by codacorolla at 9:56 AM on June 17, 2010


Gnap! Gnap!
posted by Kabanos at 10:04 AM on June 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


This summer...Hollywood blue it's load.
posted by plinth at 10:16 AM on June 17, 2010


I used to think the word was 'excrable', but then I looked it up on m-w.com, and it seems the word I was looking for is 'execrable'. 'Wretched' would do quite nicely too, though, as would both 'loathsome' and 'ugsome'. Or maybe I could just vomit on my shoes, then weep.
posted by Pecinpah at 10:19 AM on June 17, 2010


> Or maybe I could just vomit on my shoes, then weep.

Color the vomit blue and we have ourselves a sequel.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:21 AM on June 17, 2010


@The Winsome Parker Lewis: Looks like the ruination of our childhood is well underway.

From the looks of a fair proportion of your list, our childhoods were already ruined.
posted by plinth at 10:33 AM on June 17, 2010


I don't understand why movie studios don't just make lots of films, films for which they only allow the producers/directors a very limited budget, but otherwise give them creative leeway, then pick the best of the films and promote the hell out of them. Whatever hits they produced would more than pay for the duds. And it would be much less risk and a much bigger payoff than whatever they get from sinking a hundred million into one crappy movie.

The 1920s Studio model welcomes you and says thank you for thinking of it.

And what coda said. :-P

My favorite is when "Indie" arms of studios get co-opted and start producing tripe. RIP, Weinstein brothers.
posted by cavalier at 10:34 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


That was an oversimplification, replace "The 1920s" with "A 1920s".
posted by cavalier at 10:35 AM on June 17, 2010


Okay, this thread's been up for five hours, and I don't even see a single Pepsi Blue reference. I'm disappointed in you, MeFites.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:37 AM on June 17, 2010


MetaFilter: if I could smurf my own smurf I'd never use the Internet again.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:43 AM on June 17, 2010


Right here, Strange Interlude.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:44 AM on June 17, 2010


I will still laugh at a well-timed fart joke. What can I say: it's the great leveler. In your pants.

Did somebody step on a duck?
posted by Kirk Grim at 10:47 AM on June 17, 2010


Okay, this thread's been up for five hours, and I don't even see a single Pepsi Blue reference. I'm disappointed in you, MeFites.

Man, your reading comprehension needs some work. Post 7 minutes after the thread went live.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:51 AM on June 17, 2010


John Oliver mentioned on his podcast that he's in this Smurfs movie. What's baffling is that he's playing Vanity Smurf, which is just wrong.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:53 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't understand why movie studios don't just make lots of films, films for which they only allow the producers/directors a very limited budget, but otherwise give them creative leeway, then pick the best of the films and promote the hell out of them.

Here's a crazy idea: Let the producers raise their own money, which would really keep costs down and give the directors a lot of creative freedom. Then select the best movies and show them at some kind of film festival in Utah or something, and then you could buy only the good one. I bet you could run a whole film studio on that model, and get a bunch of Oscars out of it and get bought out by Disney.
posted by smackfu at 10:59 AM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here are some other cartoon properties that haven't been remade yet:

My Little Pony (Miley Cyrus for voice talent? Dakota Fanning goes to horse camp, gets made fun of, makes friends with magical Hannah Montanna horse?)

Family Circus (Tap Jason Lee for dad. He'll work for a crust of bread and some beads. Justin Bieber as Jeffy.)

Far Side (Desperately in need of a reboot. Mixed CGI and fat-suit. Let's do this shit.)
posted by codacorolla at 11:07 AM on June 17, 2010


Although Smurfs go to Baltimore... now that, I would watch.

(fade up on tight POV tracking shot of a stetch of sidewalk strewn with weeds, vials, broken glass and bullet casings)

V/O: This summer, a broken city will find its heart . . .

(camera reaches several pairs of feet clad in brand-new Timberlands)

POOT: So I say, I'ma get wit dat Shorty, and she like . . .

BROADUS: Man, you trippin'. You ain't got wit shit.

V/O: . . . and a long-forgotten gang will find its soul.

(camera pans up and pulls back to reveal street corner busy with hustlers and buyers)

POOT: Nah, man, you fuckin' trippin' . . .

BROADUS: Yo. Hold up. Who dat shorty?

(camera pulls further back, revealing SMURFETTE strolling up to the corner from a half-block away, her hips swaying suggestively as she struts; POOT, BROADUS and the rest on the corner pull double-takes and goggle-eyes)

SMURFETTE (over shoulder as she struts past): What up, Smurfstas?

V/O: This summer, the city of Baltimore learns a new game.

(cut to INT. WAREHOUSE, strewn with desks and whiteboards and files)

LT. DANIELS: Dammit, McNulty, you've played too fast and loose this time. I'm giving you a new partner to set you straight. Someone who knows how to work a wire by the book.

(camera pans to doorway, where BRAINY SMURF stands, leaning nonchalant against door frame)

BRAINY SMURF: I hear you smurfs haven't even learned how to smurf a burner yet.

(cut to INT. FUNERAL PARLOR, gang meeting in progress)

STRINGER BELL: If we gonna take on Proposition Joe, we gonna need some real heat out there on those corners . . .

(door opens, HANDY & HEFTY SMURF march in, tying on do-rags and trading elaborate handslaps with various gang members as they approach the dias)

(cut to INT. MCNULTY'S CAR)

MCNULTY: C'mon, Bubs. Give it up. Where's all this crazy new herb on the street comin' from?

BUBBLES: Damn, McNulty. You ain't heard? They a new boss in town.

MCNULTY: A new boss? Barksdale's back out?

BUBBLES: Shit. Barksdale. Nah. I'm talkin' 'bout a real bad mothafucka . . .

(cut to INT. GARAGE, a cauldron bubbling away in the middle; camera pulls back to reveal GARGAMEL stirring it with venomous glee as PROP JOE and BROTHER MOUZONE cower in fear in the corner, their hands and ankles bound)

GARGAMEL (cackling): Just wait, Azrael. When those junkies get a taste of what I'm cookin', every corner in town will be mine. (straightens up, strikes gangsta pose) You hear that, bitches? Every corner in town will be mine!

PROP JOE: Guess the game done changed.

(cut to BLACK SCREEN)

TEXT ON SCREEN: THE GAME'S THE SAME. IT JUST GOT MORE SMURFY.

TEXT ON SCREEN: THE SMURFS. SUMMER 2011.

HARD CUT TO BLACK
posted by gompa at 11:13 AM on June 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


The Family Circus movie would have to be live action, but the kids would be CG creatures with the same proportions as in the comic. It would be terrifying.
posted by brundlefly at 11:16 AM on June 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


I bet it will be bluetiful.
posted by Siberian Mist at 11:23 AM on June 17, 2010


Fun Fact: Dreamworks has placed a bounty on Bill Watterson's head so that they can move forward on their production of Calvin & Hobbes:
Calvin (Rory Culkin) is a typical boy who, in the midst of his parents divorce (Luke Wilson and Jessica Biel), discovers a magical stuffed tiger named Hobbes (voiced by Will Ferrell) that is able to come to life whenever Calvin spins his special propeller beanie that he got by saving UPC symbols from packages of Jolt Cola. Just as Calvin thinks that Hobbes will help him bring his parents back together, it turns out his evil teacher Miss Wormwood (Kathy Bates) is a government informant who sets the military industrial complex (lead by a chilling Jon Voight) after Calvin and Hobbes, keen on utilizing Hobbes and his magical abilities to transform cardboard boxes into dangerous weapons (cf. the early scene in which Calvin and Hobbes transmogrify Moe (Jonah Hill, in a cameo) into a frog, which Hobbes crushes to death). Calvin and Hobbes end up escaping with Susie Derkins (Vanessa Hudgens) to Hobbes's secret base on Mars, where he reveals that he's a robot created by interplanetary explorer Spaceman Spiff (Zac Efron).
posted by shakespeherian at 11:25 AM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, this movie will suck.

I really just came into this to thank Nelson for daring to provide the link that I was too timid to provide myself. You are truly a man of lulz, Nelson.
posted by barrett caulk at 11:28 AM on June 17, 2010


Dammit, shakespeherian I'm not 100% sure you're joking. And it scares me.
posted by JoanArkham at 11:45 AM on June 17, 2010


Calvin (Rory Culkin) is a typical boy who...

That's a joke, right? Please tell me that's a joke. Please?

Please??
posted by zarq at 11:51 AM on June 17, 2010


Imagine this: Lady GaGa does the voice of Smurfette. Eponyorgasmasterical!
posted by Daddy-O at 11:52 AM on June 17, 2010


>So, poor Gargamel spent the rest of his days chasing hallucinations while his poor cat bore the brunt of his insanity. La la la la la laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

Now I want to go read a Smurfs Without Smurfs strip.
posted by kipmanley at 11:53 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just so you know, the opening credits are an adaptation of this back cover set to Vanilla Ice's 'Play That Funky Music.'
posted by shakespeherian at 11:56 AM on June 17, 2010


Dammit, shakespeherian I'm not 100% sure you're joking. And it scares me.

This is my super power.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:05 PM on June 17, 2010


Rated NC-17 for including the infamous "Smuckfest."
posted by rusty at 12:07 PM on June 17, 2010


> Dammit, shakespeherian I'm not 100% sure you're joking. And it scares me.

This is my super power.


Lest we forget, shakespeherian tried to put on the people in Metatalk about his knowledge of the origins of taters. He is not to be trusted!
posted by Burhanistan at 12:11 PM on June 17, 2010


Ya know, I've never really liked the Smurfs. I watched some as a kid, sure, but the plots seemed often pointless and the characters absolutely flat. And it was creepy. Sometimes, I wanted Garamel to win just so it would be over.

But if I were an established actor approached for doing the voicework here, I'd be unlikely to turn it down. What's going to happen, after all? I'm going to have a laugh, get a check, and maybe do some mockery of movie promotion. When the movie comes out, nobody will be surprised if people hate it-- they would be surprised if people liked it. No respected, authoritative critic is going to waste too much energy on it. It will fade away, and I will already be half-way through my next job. Overall, it's a win-win.

I think that, for the most part, treasured childhood memories based on pop TV series like The Smurfs really had nothing to do with the TV series. They're treasured because they were cute filler for lazy Saturday mornings. Seriously, I'm sure the artists and writers involved did their best, but most of this kind of TV fare was little more than something to take up the time between ads for Trix and Nerf and Teddy Ruxpin. Some of them-- Transformers, He-Man, Care Bears-- were ads themselves. Ads between the ads.

My point is, it's fine to love whatever you love, but when they take such a TV series and make a highly commercialized movie out of it, it's not terribly different from what happened when you were a kid. It's you that's different.

I'm not saying I don't understand the feeling of "Oh gawd, they're ruining it!" I do. I feel like I may be a little extra sensitive to the commercialism in movies, specifically because of having been exposed to so much advertisement in my lifetime. I was afraid to see Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007) in the theatre. But I was surprised at how much I liked it when I saw it on cable. (I thought Stuart Little (1999) was excellent, too. Maybe I just like cute rodents.)

: This is exactly why I hated Shrek and loved Monsters, Inc. One was full of lame pop culture references that felt old the instant they hit the screen and were obviously inserted to pander to the adults in the audience. The other is a timeless classic that appeals to young and old both.

It's odd you should say that, because I didn't see Monsters Inc for years because I thought it was just another commercial kids flick (I suppose it was the landslide of marketing products), yet I saw Shrek in the theater and loved it. I thought Shrek (2001) was simply excellent storytelling. Unless you're counting music, the only pop-culture references I remember were in the mockery of Disney theme parks. Most of the rest seemed to be fairytale references.

Now that I have seen Monsters, Inc, I can say it's much better than I thought (it's very good), but I wouldn't say it's devoid of adult-y humor and pop culture stuff. Everything is much smoother and better-hidden than in Shrek, but then Monsters Inc isn't a satirical comedy, and Shrek is.

/rant
posted by zennie at 12:15 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, why did only Lincoln get the blue treatment?

The other guys aren't Bluish.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:16 PM on June 17, 2010


Imagine this: Lady GaGa does the voice of Smurfette.

Not Lady GaGamel?
posted by kirkaracha at 12:17 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I saw Shrek again very recently, and yeah, boy does it seem dated. Monsters, Inc. doesn't. I have to say, having kids makes a person pretty sensitive to this sort of thing.
posted by rusty at 12:23 PM on June 17, 2010


When I was a kid, I remember that the first thing I did when I got home in the afternoon after Kindergarten was sitting in the floor and watching The Smurfs while eating my once. They weren't the greatest thing in the world but they were a fun of ending my 'day'.

In the middle of that year adults decided that I had reached whatever educational objectives Kindergarten had and was advanced to first grade. The first day, after a weird day of getting introduced and being completely out of my depth socially speaking, I arrived home and sat in the floor. But The Smurfs never came on, it was too early for them. I can't remember. Minutes later I was having lunch in the table, with my parents and my sister, watching maybe the news or a soap opera. I think I realized then for the first time that I was growing up and that maybe it wasn't as cool as it seemed from outside.

I can't say I'm looking forward for this movie but getting bothered for its existence doesn't really make sense to me, the series I loved are still in my memories and will continue to be there even if people re-interpret the material over and over again to make money.
posted by Memo at 12:25 PM on June 17, 2010


* I can't remember.
posted by Memo at 12:26 PM on June 17, 2010


The Smurf figures were not poseable and thus rather static and stilted. I had a few that were given to me, but I didn't resonate with them like I did with figures that you could move and pose. The Smurfs just seemed like collectibles that you had to remind you of your love for the series or something, but not as a jumping off point for further adventures. I didn't know any kids that actually "played" Smurfs in the same way they did with Star Wars, GI Joe, or My Little Pony or whatever (although maybe there were kids like that, but they were ashamed to admit it, as well they should). I wonder if the manufacturer ever toyed with the idea of releasing poseable Smurf figures or if they were always intended as just another shelf decoration.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:31 PM on June 17, 2010


Lest we forget, shakespeherian tried to put on the people in Metatalk about his knowledge of the origins of taters. He is not to be trusted!

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:59 PM on June 17, 2010


I'm just waiting for the day that I step out of the theater and see a poster with something resembling a bent, felt orange straw and a mysterious caption of "Come Along in 2014".
posted by NBJack at 1:13 PM on June 17, 2010


Serious question: Has Hollywood always been in the business of regularly recycling pop culture from yesteryear in cheap/distasteful ways to produce movies for the latest generation of kids? Because it's all I've ever known in my lifetime. Every time I see it happen I die a little inside. But I can't accept that it's always been this way. They weren't doing this back in, say, the '50s, were they?

Interesting question! But it isn't just hollywood, of course, writers have been recycling the good stuff for millenia.

Offenses in the fifties? Well, television was hungry for content. George Reeve's Superman might have offended purists back in the day. (Batman was sixties, of course) Lone Ranger was radio before television, if that counts.

Back to movies. You could consider the Hammer Studio remakes of classic horror movies a cheesy British recycling of pop culture (mostly sixties, some fifties). Classic horror in general is ruined by fast buck artists. Bunch of 1950s sword and sandal flicks tore the guts out of classic mythology.

If it seems more prevalent now, I'm guessing it's in part because there's more manufactured pop culture around from the post war years than there was before. Disney, after all, stole from classic fairy tales and childrens books.

I don't understand why movie studios don't just make lots of films, films for which they only allow the producers/directors a very limited budget, but otherwise give them creative leeway, then pick the best of the films and promote the hell out of them. Whatever hits they produced would more than pay for the duds. And it would be much less risk and a much bigger payoff than whatever they get from sinking a hundred million into one crappy movie.

Mrs Jones makes this argument. It is attractive, and to an extent it is done (hence the phrase straight to video), but as a business model, it's nervous making. I mean, they could do it in the thirties and forties when the studios had a strangle hold and television had not caught on and the talent would do as it was damn well told. Once that all broke down, the suits had to figure a new model. Hard times. he auteurs of the seventies might have ushered in the model you suggest, but then along comes Spielberg and we get the blockbuster phenom and, well, you know the rest. Money. Greed. Vanity.

Problem with popular culture, any culture really, is it's too damn unpredictable. Who would have bet on The Da Vinci Code? You don't know, so you try to minimize the variable. Ideally, you want to make a movie that can be pre-sold all over the world before shooting begins. Easier to do with if you have story with a track record, a familiar copyrighted character, a built in audience to point to. A bankable star. Talking animals. Christmas themes (gift that keeps on giving). A lot of things getting blowed up.

Small films can't deliver all of that. Yet. But with the rise of CGI etc, and declining costs, they will get a lot better than they do now. And the amount of product will increase (much, as I suspect, Word Processors increased the tides of manuscripts my lit agent friend tells me comes over the transom these years). Most projects will be crap, but not all. Next question will be distribution. Oh, interesting times are coming, you can be sure.

Sorry, starting to ramble. Smurfs. Hm. Good in French, in English, not so much. Darling daughter is not excited.
posted by IndigoJones at 1:34 PM on June 17, 2010


Frank Miller's Smurfs.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:42 PM on June 17, 2010


Beloved childhood characters + "in your face verb" + hip-hop remix of the theme = Oh God, not again.

Kids aren't sick of Cliche's, so when writing kids stuff lazy writers just go to town.
posted by delmoi at 2:00 PM on June 17, 2010


I'm kind of disappointed that they didn't get Verhoeven to direct. It probably would've turned out to be the same campy absurd movie. Except when anybody pointed out how it was funny because of it's absurdity, there would be somebody to chime in and say: "NOOOO, you don't get it! You're soooo stupid! It's genius because of it's subversive themes about fascism and proto-communist!"
posted by P.o.B. at 2:06 PM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


OMG, they're also making a new Care Bears Movie!
posted by P.o.B. at 2:25 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


C'mon now, everything is better in 3D. Just ask Don Hertzfeldt who must have been way ahead of his time...
posted by samsara at 2:43 PM on June 17, 2010


This would be amazing if it was all animated.

I think this is what you're looking for. I seem to recall it was pretty darn cool, though I was young and impressionable at the time and also thought Hugo the Hippo was a good movie.

So I'll wait and see if my childhood is sundered, and if "I kissed a smurf and I liked it" makes the top ten, but you know, whatevs.
posted by Sparx at 3:38 PM on June 17, 2010


This seems like a decent place to mention Zach Galifianakis could be the new Don Knotts-fish. In other words, "The Incredible Mr. Limpet" is moving towards being re-made. Yes, that Incredible Mr. Limpet. The one where Knotts becomes a fish and fights the Nazis.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:21 PM on June 17, 2010


Am I the only child of the 80s who watched TV like it was my religion, but never got into the Smurfs? I watched maybe 5 minutes of one episode and was bored. I didn't like the animation style, IIRC.
posted by zardoz at 4:55 PM on June 17, 2010


Props to Shepherd for bringing up Peyo. Even in the 80s, the Big Media Bastards figured we couldn't handle legitimate wonder and filtered the wonderful true Smurfs through Hanna-Barbera's Suck Machine.

And referring to an earlier comment, there's already been a Smurfs movie, The Smurfs and the Magic Flute. It was directed by Peyo. It's actually an English translation of an European production, that didn't touch Hanna-Barbera and has a different art style.
posted by JHarris at 5:21 PM on June 17, 2010


Lincoln turned blue because he has a beard, like Papa Smurf. They want the audience to think of great heroes, not some commie writer.

I'd rather they stuck with the gritty reboot than transported them to a wealthy urban area.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 6:10 PM on June 17, 2010


Smurfs sucked. Meanwhile, Gummi Bears, a cartoon show about an inert candy, provided better characterization, plot, dialogue and action than prime-time television, in a self-consistent fantasy world a damn sight better realized than most of the paperbacks on the Barnes & Noble genre shelves.

Then we have Tailspin, which revived a long-forgotten pulp genre on the strength of its story and characters.

Disney knew what the hell it was doing in the late '80s and early '90s... and then lost their way completely with Victor Hugo adaptations and native-american stereotypes.

A dim glimmer of hope? Heinz D. and Clarence B. - Two of the most demented and entertaining characters on television at the moment.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:19 PM on June 17, 2010


I cringe in anticipation of the 3D CGI Darkwing Duck. Crash-landing in New York City, of course...
posted by Scattercat at 8:29 PM on June 17, 2010


Some of these people should know better. Hell, a lot of these people should do better. Cumming, Novak, I'm looking at you two specifically.

Yeah, you'd think Cumming would have learned his lesson after Son of the Mask.
posted by mysterpigg at 9:15 PM on June 17, 2010


crap... horrible... awful... will suck...

Oh ye of little faith. I predict this will be the smurfiest movie that ever smurfed!
posted by amyms at 9:52 PM on June 17, 2010


It would be like if Fred Flintstone instead of having like a dinosaur with a big tooth open cans just had an electic can opener. That didn't get electricity from an eel or anything but just got it from a fucking powerplant.

It's funny that you mention The Flintstones, the first prime time cartoon, which was based on The Honeymooners ... you know, Jackie Gleason, favorite of children everywhere.

The Flintstones was not sophisticated at all, but it was specifically meant to appeal to adults. It was mostly about the drudgery of work and middle class life, not exactly kids' themes.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:16 AM on June 18, 2010


Also, it was sponsored by a cigarette company.
posted by box at 5:26 AM on June 18, 2010


I suspect that the only positive outcome of this will be that John Oliver will be repeatedly spanked for his involvement as "Vanity Smurf" in The Bugle.
posted by DNye at 4:15 PM on June 18, 2010


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